angryOver the past year I have very happily noticed an increase in the number of articles in the lay press on the importance of Emotional Intelligence, recess, and giving children less homework. I have been writing on this topic for the last  15 years and reading articles in psychology journals for the last 25 years . However it wasn’t until recently that the world at large is starting to take note of how important teaching Emotional Intelligence skills are to children’s emotional and physical well being. Learning great emotional intelligence skills when you’re young can prevent future pathology.

The world is also beginning to notice how important it is to help children with their difficult  feelings with empathy and compassion instead of punishment. And I’m glad the world is coming around to seeing that not enough recess and free play combined with  too much homework is creating long term anxiety in our children. We need to continue working  towards prevention of pathology and to protect our children’s emotional future and not take away their childhood. It is much easier to build up a child then repair an adult. 

The Books  Songs and Feelings Town Maps and Feelings States Maps  I have created help to teach kids and parents how to modulate and understand their emotions plus learn new coping skills.

sayitsokIt is also a joy to see the numerous articles being written on how emotional intelligence skills can be more important than academics for a successful life. With that in mind I’m hopeful that more parents, schools and sports teams etc, will switch over from punishment and detention to compassion, empathy and therapy for kids misbehavior.

Many Parents and Schools are not sure how an  empathy/compassion and therapy program would work if they got rid of punishment. But I’m hopeful that it’s just a matter of time and learning from experts in the field till society transitions from punishment to empathy, compassion and therapy when raising our kids.

When a child already feels badly about themselves inside and acts out those feeling by misbehaving and then gets punished, the child just ends up feeling even worse about themselves. Punishment doesn’t help the child  learn what feelings precipitated the behavior. Punishment doesn’t teach children how to handle those feelings instead of acting them out so they can do better next time.

When children are punished they don’t get to learn from parents or  the school what they were  feeling or given choices i.e. disappointed, hurt, angry, overly controlled? When they’re punished and they are not shown compassion they don’t learn something new, i.e. compassion for others. Children learn from what we do not what we tell them to do. If we want our kids to be good kind citizens, the best way to teach them is to be kind to their feelings. (Show Don’t Tell) In addition children and families would learn a lot more from a few sessions with a child therapist then from detention.

Children need to be  given choices of how they feel  or how to handle hard  feelings because they’re not born knowing that information. Just like children are  not born knowing how to read they need to be taught to understand  how they feel and manage those hard feelings.  Great questions are:  Did something happen at home that hurt your feelings with your parents or siblings with a teacher in school with friends?  Let’s look at the feelings map and see if we can figure out what feelings were so hard for you. What can we do differently next time, what words can we use instead of mis-behaving and  how can we  make amends.

Empathy and compassion instead of punishment helps children learn new feelings skills and creates an environment of  love support and empathy so they can go out in the world and be emotionally strong. In keeping with my mission on “prevention of pathology in early childhood” I compiled a list of articles recently written.

Ava Parnass “The Kid Whisperer,” is an author, songwriter and child therapist: Also a Member of 411voices experts and freelance Social Media correspondent for CBS show The Insider.  In addition Ava specializes in helping parents become Behavior Detectives to  Investigate their kids feelings to improve cooperation mis-behaving and overeating.

To find out more about How to Become a Behavior and Feelings Detective, buy Feeling Map Town and the soon-to-be-released book, Behavior Detective Investigates Hungry Feelings not Hungry Tummy at

Here’s a recent article I wrote on the topic!  Thank You to  The Good Men Project  for the guest post : Marcus Smart: The Pain Behind the Behavior and Marie Roker -Jones at Raising Great Men


1/Emotional Intelligence — The Forgotten Key to

Educational Success by Alicia Morgan

Dr. Goleman’s research has found that academic achievement scores in students who learn key emotional skills improve by an average of 12 percent to 15 percent.




These results underscore what literally happens in a brain distracted by emotions — it has precious little cognitive ability available to take in new has precious little cognitive ability available to take in new  information or critically think.

2/Seeing the Toll, Schools Revise Zero Tolerance By LIZETTE ALVAREZ

Under the new agreement, students caught for the first time committing any of 11 nonviolent misdemeanors are no longer arrested and sent to court. Rather, they attend counseling and perform community service. Nor do students face suspension for minor infractions. Instead, they also attend a program called Promise for three days or more.

3/A program developed in Australia is proving how intensive parenting and family interventions can reduce violence against children, and its aftermath By DAVID BORNSTEIN

The essence of the research is that children do best when they receive calm and consistent feedback and assertive discipline that’s based on reasonable expectations – with significantly more encouragement and positive feedback than criticism. “The main mistake parents and teachers make is forgetting the importance of catching kids doing the right thing,” says Sanders.

4/It’s Not Discipline, It’s a Teachable Moment  By TARA PARKER-POPE

Surprisingly, the most effective discipline typically doesn’t involve any punishment at all, but instead focuses on positive reinforcement when children are being good.

5/From Mine to Ours: Nurturing Empathy in Children David Sack, M.D.

When children get older, they benefit from parents who ask questions about their feelings and listen actively and reflectively. In this way, they learn how to relate to others by practicing at home. By contrast, the parent who spanks, punishes or yells sends the message that these behaviors are acceptable responses to  strong emotions. Studies show that over time, spanking and related punishments fail to improve behavior and actually  increase aggression in children. Children who are punished for undesirable behavior (or conversely, rewarded with material goods for helping others) do not develop an internal sense of right and wrong; they merely learn to comply. An approach that models  compassion and explores how the child’s behaviors affect other people is more effective in the long run.

6/How Do Children Learn to Regulate Their Emotions? Kenneth Barish, Ph.D.

In my experience, however, children most effectively learn to regulate their emotions when they are confident that their feelings will be heard. When a child expects that her feelings and concerns will be appreciated and understood, her emotions become less urgent.

7/Schools That Separate the Child From the Trauma By DAVID BORNSTEIN

“Educators understand that the behavior of children who act out is not willful or defiant, but is in fact a normal response to  toxic stress. And the way to help children is to create an toxic stress. And the way to help children is to create an environment in which they feel safe and can build resilience.”

8/Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught? By JENNIFER KAHN

If you’re very anxious about something, or agitated, how well can you focus on what’s being taught?”

9/Why Punishment – Based Systems Don’t Work: Yet we’re stuck with them by Kathie F. Nunley

Research tells us that punishment is ineffective. Psychologists are in agreement that punishment does more harm than good. Thousands of studies and years of practice show what punishment does teach – fear, aggression and avoidance. People who are punished do not quickly learn to stop a behavior. What they quickly do learn is next time don’t get caught, or let’s just avoid the whole situation if at all possible.

10/IQ or EQ: Which One Is More Important? By Kendra Cherry
Psychology Expert

The study found that approximately 50 percent of kids enrolled in Social Emotional Learning programs had better achievement scores and almost 40 percent showed improved grade-point-averages. These programs were also linked to lowered suspension rates, increased school attendance, and reduced disciplinary problems.

11/A psychologist in Marin County, Calif., says everything today’s parents think they’re doing right is actually wrong 

How to Raise a Child ‘Teach Your Children Well,’ by Madeline Levine

“Our current version of success is a failure,” she writes. It’s a damning, and altogether accurate, clinical diagnosis. Levine’s previous book, “The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids,”

12/Protecting Children From Toxic Stress 


By developing the ability to read a child’s cues, and by being emotionally available on a daily basis, parents can provide buffers that reduce the harmful physiological effects of high stress.

13/Is emotional intelligence a better indicator of brain health than IQ?

by Molly Edmonds

Emotional intelligence has also been linked to better stress management and lower psychological distress, as well as lower rates of depression [source: Austin et al.]. When people are unable to recognize and control their emotions, they’re more likely to have lower satisfaction with life.

14/The Psych Approach By David Brooks

But, more recently, attention has shifted to the psychological reactions that impede learning — the ones that flow from insecure relationships. Attention has shifted toward the psychological for several reasons. First, it’s become increasingly clear that social and emotional deficits can trump material or even intellectual progress. It wasn’t the students with the lower high school grades that were dropping out most. It was the ones with the weakest resilience and social skills. It was the pessimists. Second, over the past few years, an array of psychological researchers have taught us that motivation, self-control and resilience are together as important as raw I.Q. and are probably more malleable.

15/Yay for Recess: Pediatricians Say It’s as Important as Math or Reading Recess Is as Important as Class Time, Bonnie Rochman

Pediatricians Say |

Children need to have downtime between complex cognitive challenges,” says Dr. Robert Murray, a pediatrician and professor of human nutrition at the Ohio State University who is a co-author of the statement. “They tend to be less able to process information the longer they are held to a task. It’s not enough to just switch from math to English. You actually have to take a break.”

16/Recess a crucial part of school day, says American Academy of Pediatrics


Recess is an essential part of a child’s school day that should never be taken away as punishment if a kid misbehaves or has poor academic performance, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday.

17/How Physical Fitness May Promote School Success by Gretchen Reynolds

This finding suggests that “higher levels of fitness have their greatest impact in the most challenging situations” that children face intellectually, the study’s authors write. The more difficult something is to learn, the more physical fitness may aid children in learning it.

18 Homework’s Emotional Toll on Students and Families By KJ DELL’ANTONIA  

“Don’t fall into the trap of parent peer pressure,” said Ms. Pope, a mother of three. “Nothing is permanent, and it’s up to you to remind your children that. We live in a country where you can drop out of high school and later community college and still ultimately get a Ph.D. from Stanford. At a certain point, it’s O.K. to get some sleep instead of studying for that test.”

19 Teaching Children to Calm Themselves

The education system responds bluntly to kids with these challenges. The standard arsenal of disciplinary measures — from yelling and “timeouts” to detentions and suspensions — are not just ineffective for children who have experienced traumatic stress; they make things worse. By some estimates, preschool expulsions are 13 times more common than K-12 expulsions — a finding that, given the bleak future it portends for these children (and the associated costs for society), should send alarm bells ringing across the nation.Through the Head Start Trauma Smart training and mentoring programs, teachers, parents and others come to understand how trauma affects the brain and manifests itself in daily life. “Every behavior communicates a need,” said Kinniburgh, the co-developer of ARC and co-author of “Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents.” “The question is, how do we help caregivers and teachers tune in and understand the messages that kids are really sending through their behavior?” And how to do it in real-time in a classroom with two dozen children or the checkout counter at Wal-Mart?

 20 Forget Business School: Why An Emotional Education Is Indispensable

by  Avid Larizadeh

According to the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory published by the Hay Group, emotional intelligence is defined by four fundamental attributes: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. I strongly believe that it is by developing all of these that we become more successful and fulfilled people.

2120 Good Character Traits That Will Make Your Kids Grow Up to Be Happy, Successful and Loved By All

by Vibha Sharma. 

His explanation was simple. The boys had not behaved appropriately with a classmate who happened to be a ‘girl’. This was unacceptable to my little boy who could not witness this silently as respect for girls is one virtue we hold very high in our family’s value system. I have done my best to hone this, along with other values that really matter to us, right since we started to talk to each other about this some four years back. So in that moment…..See more click on link

22: How to Build Emotional Intelligence in Your Child

By Anna Partridge

You have probably heard the term “emotional intelligence” many times but what exactly is it? And why is it important for children to develop their emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ) is a “person’s ability to identify, evaluate, control and express emotions.” It helps us communicate with others, negotiate situations and develop clear thought patterns. Click Title to read more

23:  Kids struggle with feelings, talking emotions w children.
By Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
Sabrina Lopez discussed how to teach kids to deal with emotions during a Mom2Mom gathering.
“I think I am a really emotional person, and I have been struggling with that all my life,” said the Batesville resident, who has studied psychology. Sometimes emotional intelligence is much more important than other things. What if I tell you that if you teach your kids about emotions, they will be calm, much more motivated in life, in sports, in everything?” asked the mother of two.

24:How to look for Emotional Intelligence on your team – Livemint

By ClaudioFernandezAraoz

If you’re looking to hire outstanding leaders, it’s critically important that you learn how to properly test for emotional intelligence.

25:  Emotional intelligence is no accident; parents can encourage trait in kids

Could he hit a pillow instead? Or roar like a lion? Run in a circle or stomp his feet? How could he express his anger without hurting others, Miller, a child development expert, would ask.

The Books   Songs and Feelings Town Maps  and Feelings States Maps I have created help to teach parents and kids to modulate and understand their emotions plus learn new coping skills.


11 Responses to 25 articles:Emotional Intelligence +Empathy 4 kids misbehavior not punishment! + recess+ less homework for mental health

  1. I cant wait to read some of these articles. The titles look really interesting – am hoping to learn something new too!

  2. Ava says:

    Thanks Naomi!
    I’ve been saving them after reading them to show some of the schools I work with:)
    Since emotional intelligence is coming into the mainstream media I find it’s more helpful to people when they read it in media as opposed to a psychology book:)

  3. […] us new skills or good mood regulation. Punishment just teaches us to not get caught and here are 14 articles telling us why punishment doesn’t work. Sports teams would benefit much more from starting an […]

  4. This looks EXTREMELY valuable … the titles make me already know this is something I am going to want shared everywhere!! Thank you for putting this together Ava!

  5. So nice to read a blog on emotional intelligence with such a great list of resources. I too have been working with parents for over 25 years, stressing how important EI is. Dr. John Gottman also has solid research backing up the importance of teaching our children mega emotion. It’s finally becoming mainstream.

    • aparnass says:

      Thanks so much for commenting! I totally agree with you I’m so happy it’s finally becoming mainstream we waited a long time:)

  6. Johnc417 says:

    whoah this blog is wonderful i like reading your articles. gafeddaccbfd

  7. Johne71 says:

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  8. Precy says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this nice Article!You’ve done really excellent job!can’t wait for another article to read from u.

  9. Sumitha says:

    Wow, what a fantastic collection of articles! We’ve been discussing this topic on my site a lot lately, and this collection couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks for putting it together 🙂

    • aparnass says:

      Sumitha, So glad you like.. I love finding and writing articles on the topic. I enjoyed yours too!

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